Hollyoaks secret move to the Blasket Islands still underway

In a clandestine step that it is hoped will appear completely seamless, production of the British soap opera Hollyoaks will wrap up in Liverpool before moving permanently to the Blasket Islands off the coast of County Kerry next month. According to sources close to Channel 4's Teletext service, the covert, cost cutting shift in location has been planned for the last four years, as more and more Irish characters have been introduced into the scripts before the digital switchover this year.

The European wide switchover from analog to digital television will allow the television drama's producers to stream entire episodes back to the British mainland employing satellite technology without compromising the ultra high quality visuals of the soap, rather than sending DVDs by carrier pigeon (as had heretofore been standard). However, whether producers will sell the new setting to viewers without explicitly referring to the fact is unknown. The move has become much more attractive financially as Ireland's economic difficulties mean that their creative arts workforce can now be employed for a fraction of what they would have cost in boom times.

Some time next month, it is believed that Mercedes McQueen will be seen entering the Dog in the Pond after hearing a rumour that her Irish ex, Mal Fisher, has been spotted in the village. Having believed that Mal was killed in an explosion - and that she had watched him die - she goes through the pub only to re-emerge five minutes later from the back door of Ó Cearrtagaigh's Pub, Grocery Store Agus Undertakers, on the island of An Tearaght. It is on coming out of the pub that Mercedes does indeed catch a glimpse of Fisher, bobbing in a coracle off the shore on the Atlantic waves. The traditional Irish fishing vessel will then beach in a spray of foam, and Malachy will emerge from the shower, leaping from the boat with a net full of pollocks. He informs Mercedes that he still loves her and that he only left Tearaght to get treatment for his HIV in Galway City, where there is a [fictional] centre of excellence that specialises in the condition.

After spending years deciding on the location, it is still unclear why the island of Tearaght was chosen as the new setting for the soap. However, it is generally agreed that if said very quickly in a harsh Irish accent, it's the island whose name sounds the most like "Chester", the soap's current setting.

Jennifer Metcalfe's character Mercedes is introducing the new setting because the island can be found off the coast of Ireland at Dunmore Head, and - as one of the longest serving regulars on the Channel Four soap - Mercedes has done more head than any other character in the drama.

Brilliant and Bold ISPCC Campaign

Kids are good fun. They're easily amused too. For example, once you have a one year old convinced that every time they wrap their little fist around your index finger, you have to bark like a dog - and you don't particularly like it - it always brings a smile to their face, and that's your whole afternoon set. You can cancel all of your appointments and switch off your phone.

You can talk to a two year old and for whatever reason, you end up counting stuff, and you're all "One, two, three, four" and then the kid says "Nine" and that's not quite right, of course.

But even wronger is dissin' the little sprogs.

For example saying something like

Image courtesy Ogilvy & Mather, Dublin
 Or calling them

Image courtesy Ogilvy & Mather, Dublin
Or what about

Image courtesy Ogilvy & Mather, Dublin

Apparently, these epithets are mild compared to what has been said to the kids who are lookng for help.

The ISPCC (the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has launched a campaign highlighting emotional abuse. Click the links below to check out some of the campaign.

The shield image employed in the campaign posters above and in the video below represents a symbol of protection for children. Wearing a shield pin shows your support for the ISPCC.




Drogba Caught in encounter with a Gay Man

A week before his club won the Champion's League, it can now be revealed that Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was caught on camera having an encounter with a homosexual.

Drogba - hitherto believed to be happily married - was seen and heard chatting with the 49 year old gay man, who is said to have wished the footballer the best of luck for upcoming title matches. Hitherto.

The two men are rumoured to have met on the set of a popular BBC chat show. Clearly aware that he was on camera, Drogba appeared unfazed by the attention as he engaged with the man.

During the discussion, Drogba talked about his home country of the Ivory Coast. As the captain of his national soccer squad, he described how he and his teammates had pushed for talks to begin in order to end civil war in his homeland.

Drogba also detailed how he had set up an organisation in the Cote d'Ivoire in order to lure sick children to medical centres. Here, the centre forward explained, they would be able to receive life saving treatments of various kinds that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to get.

In what could have been an attempt to massage Drogba's ego, the 49 year old then listed a number of the honours the soccer athlete had received - particularly places and products in the Ivory Coast that now feature the football star's name.

Drogba was then asked by the gay man if he would show him some dance moves. Drogba appeared reluctant at first, but it wasn't long before he was dancing with the gay man after some encouragement.

It is not known how the encounter will be received by his family or his countrymen. Attempts to contact Mr. Drogba's wife for her views have been unsuccessful.

Grandmother caught in blaze leaves town in shock

An 82 year old woman, grandmother to seven children and great-grandmother to one, has left the town of Drogheda in complete shock after accidentally setting herself alight at the home of her daughter. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the elderly woman – identified locally as “looking like a fireball” – was last seen fleeing on foot at surprising speed down the M1 motorway.

Nostalgia Pop Quiz

Trivia Quiz:

Remember when The West Wing was so popular that for four years running every Best Supporting Actor Emmy nominee was either in the series, or the actor's clone? But who can guess which of Bradley Whitford's clones actually won the gong in 2001?

Answer: It was Britley Whatley

Tips to Eat your Way through Italy!

If you want to eat your way through Italy like that woman who wrote the book they made a movie out of with Julia Slobbers - yes, you know the one - that's right - her book! - then here are a few tips to set you on your way!

Tips are numbered in Italiano from the top down!

Tip Number Septic:

How to get to Italy? Why not make a tv ad looking for sponsorship?

Remember, if you're making a television ad, it's important to ensure that your onscreen dialogue is just a little bit out of sync with your audio. If you have the sound perfectly synchronised with the visuals, then people will regard your ad as a little shoddy in terms of post-production values.
 Gnocchi doesn't mean that you don't have a soul. It's a kind of delicious dish! (Photo courtesy of Hanna.)

Tip Number Sexto:

Remember always carry a can of pepperspray with you when you're in Italy in case you bump into lecherous media billionaire and political puppet master Silvio Berlusconi. If you happen to encounter Silvio and he won't leave you alone, make sure to check during the course of your conversation whether he has left his teeth in a glass in his palatial villa, or if he has them in his mouth. If he's left his pearly whites at home, it means that he's out and about looking for love from either gender.

Silvio doesn't care to admit his bisexualism, preferring instead to boast of affairs with dancing female embryos. And remember, his gummy face is known in Italy as "the Vice". For related reasons, Mr Silvio gets along really well with former President of America, Mr BJ Clinton! Bada bing bada boo!

So when it comes to Mister Berlusconi, always exercise caution - whether his teeth are in his mouth, on his bedside locker, or even on the streets of Milan!

(Pepper spray will also add a little zing to your pasta.)

Tip Number Mutande:

Make yourself less intimidating by making your name longer!

If your name is Bernie and you're a little aggressive and out there, appear less threatening by lengthening your name to Bernardino or Bernardito. This is a clever way to show off how cute you are!

The same goes for objects. If you don't like your spaghetti long, once you've attracted the waiter in the restaurant, then simply squint your eyes and put your index finger and thumb near each other, indicating something miniscule. Then simply utter the word "Spaghetititininini." We're sure that the chef will happily oblige, cutting the spaghetti up to make it more manageable for your refined palate.
Photo courtesy of Hanna

And remember, if you prefer your spaghetti a little less feminine, you can order the spaghetto. Little spaghettos are called spaghettotinitotos! So put in your order in the restaurant and see the reaction at your amazing linguine linguistic skills!

Tip Number Quattro:

If you're in the Piedmont region, and you're in a winery, be sure to ask the people who run the vineyard if they use the Nebbiolo grape in their wines.

Photo courtesy of Hanna
This grape comes from an area of the Piedmont that's prone to plenty of fog in the fall and winter months.

The grape itself develops a misty skin before it is harvested - another reason why the grape is called Nebbiolo. The grape name is derived from the Italian for "fog"!

The German word for fog is "Nebel" - as in the famous documentary about the Holocaust, Nacht und Nebel, or Night and Fog. Don't be afraid to bring up these points while you're in this wonderful Alpine region. Whenever you get the chance, steer the Italians away from their grape talk and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ask them about their involvement in the Second World War. If you fail to get answers, make sure to poke the Italian person in the chest or the shoulder to get their attention!